How to find out the past of my house

Updated February 21, 2017

Your house can tell you a lot about its history. By looking at certain features, the foundation, even the meter, you can discover when your home was built. Knowing this information is useful if you're thinking of remodelling certain parts of the house (the foundation, the wires, plumbing, etc.). Also, it can interesting to learn of the home's past and who may have lived there before you. There are a few easy ways to discover the past of your house.

Look at the flooring for clues on how old the house may be. Asphalt tile flooring became popular in the 1920s. Starting in the 1930s, vinyl became the choice for flooring. Linoleum sheet flooring was used extensively between 1890 and 1960. In more recent times, Pergo flooring was first used in the United States in 1994 ( Flooring is a great indicator of when a house was built (as long as the flooring has not been redone).

Determine the house's architectural style. Many homes go through different architectural phases. If you can pinpoint what type of style your home is, it will be easier to assess the time period in which it was built. And that information will give you a clue as to what kinds of families lived in your house before you.

Talk to neighbours. Many people like to do research on their houses. You may have several neighbours who know a lot of historical information regarding the neighbourhood. Older neighbours will probably know quite a bit about past owners of homes as well. They may have a lot of insightful information about your home and its past.

Go to your county courthouse and look at public records. Information about your home (including past owners, births or deaths in the house, etc.) is considered public record. You can find a lot of useful information about the past of your home by looking through its records.

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About the Author

Andrea Griffith has been writing professionally since 2005. Her work has been published by the "Western Herald," Detroit WDIV, USAToday and other print, broadcast and online publications. Although she writes about a wide range of topics, her areas of expertise include fashion, beauty, technology and education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and English from Western Michigan University.